2018-06-13 / Opinion

Up The Creek Without A Paddle

Our Steel Magnolias -
by Terry Toole

Anyone who can't find something to do in Colquitt, just “ain't” looking.

Last Thursday night, I was told we were going to Steel Magnolias, a stage show about men and women in a small town and what they do. All of the play takes place in a beauty shop. In the original play and movie, there were some men in the true story, but in the current stage play it was all women, and they did great.

When I went with my first wife to the play in the Cotton Hall Interact Building last Thursday, the building was almost filled with women. I thought to myself, "What am I doing in here with all these women?"

We saw the original movie back in the late 80s, and the best I could remember, it was great back 27 years ago. This year marks the 31st anniversary of Steel Magnolias, a play Robert Harling wrote just months after his sister, Susan, died of complications from diabetes. All I could remember was a girl died, but the story really was a comedy-drama and had some of the best cast of actors in the business.

I wondered how our cast and crew would pull the story out with just one scene, a beauty shop, but they did, magnificently.

In the original movie, a Georgia girl, played in the movie with a bunch of pros. Julia Roberts born in Smyrna, Georgia, became the star who received an Oscar nomination for her role with stars like Dolly Parton, Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine and Daryl Hannah. The movie was the highest box office film of the year, $95.9 million.

Back to Colquitt's play and actors, although there were perhaps four men in the audience of hundreds of women, I'm so glad I didn't miss it.

Katherine A. Willis Cook was the director. If they want to bring back one of the best movies/plays of this century, I could recommend some stars. They could have gone over the entire U.S.A. and not cast any better to play the parts than Mattie Winburn, Jenni Williams, Mandy Roland, Sherry Henley, Tammy Lowe, Vicki Phillips and Debbie Sloan.

It amazes me, and most everyone else that there is so much natural talent in and around Colquitt. They were great. Since the play is about Steel Magnolias, (chiefly Southern US) women who exemplify both traditional femininity as well as an uncommon fortitude), we have an unlimited source to choose from here in the South, and here in Colquitt, specifically.

Many wonder why I am so up on Colquitt, Miller County and Southwest Georgia, and things like this production of Steel Magnolia and all the talent that goes into it is one of the reasons. There are many, many more.

There are many Steel Magnolias in our area, I am married to one of them.

As we were coming out of the performance, some ladies from Baker County came up to ye scribe and first wife to tell us they thought about us as the play went on. We lost our own Steel Magnolia to cancer. Tammy was strong as steel and as sweet and feminine as a beautiful woman could be. I could write a book on all the many women who would qualify.

There is one good thing about going to anything with that many women. As you know, I am a hugger, and most women like to be hugged especially by someone who is old enough to be their daddy or grandpa. I have reached that favored age.

There are many "Steel Magnolias" down here in the South, and if you don't come to Colquitt to see anything else, just coming and enjoying being around lots of women who qualify is worth the trip.

The Cotton Hall Theater bunch is continually trying something new for this corner of the state. We are fortunate to have almost enough numbers to fill the parts for the plays with the help of nearby towns.

I've been going for as long as they have been performing, and haven't been to a bad one yet. They just keep getting better.

Thanks to the volunteers at Swamp Gravy who make all these great shows possible. Check this newspaper for coming attractions that will definitely give you somewhere to go.

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